Wednesday, February 15, 2012

First Impressions

First impressions… 
They are important but they sometimes lead to the wrong impression. 

There is the saying; you only get one chance to make a first impression.  But what if your first impression is wrong?  What if you ignore something or someone based merely on a first impression? 
I recently did just that.

The occurrence was not on a grand scale or anything life-altering but it was an instance which made me think…how often do I do this?  We are all so busy and our attention span is fairly short due to the multitude of daily chores and to-do lists we feel we must accomplish.  It is therefore not surprising that I would quickly dismiss something I felt I had no time or need for. 
The other day I was searching through my favorite blogs, catching up on some recent posts and I was directed to a blog called write to done which included a post titled: “Top 10 Blogs for Writers 2010-2011,The Winners.”   

Of course, I had to check it out.  After looking over the list, I realized I had already visited over half the blogs so I took a few minutes to visit the rest.  There was one in particular I had heard of before but I had not taken the time to visit. 

Honestly, my decision was based solely on the name. 
The blog is called Men with Pens and although I regularly view other blogs written by men, my first instinct was that I did not wish to view a blog with regular posts by many men, if the name was any indication.  Would they have useful information just like women writers do?  Sure.  Could I make use of their information?  You bet.  Will I only read blogs written by women?  Heck no.  But I already read enough blogs and my time is limited as it is.

Regardless, I decided I should check out the blog.  I mean, hey, it made a top ten blog list so they must be doing something right.
At the Men with Pens site I got interested in a few posts about blogging with a byline only offering “Written by James.”  As my eyes wandered towards the bottom of the last post, I saw a short blurb about the author, named James Chartrand, and alongside that was a photo of…

Hold up…
It was a photo of a woman?  I’m sure my brows furrowed as my brain quickly registered that the photo of a female must be a mistake.  I finished reading the short introduction which ended with the sentence, “She loves the color blue, her kids, and ice skating.”

Well.  Okay.
I love a good puzzle.  It’s one of the reasons I have always loved mysteries and enjoyed my job as a private investigator.  This was a puzzle of a different sort but I decided I had to find the answer as to why a woman was blogging under a man’s name. 

As I was reading one of her posts titled, “What to Do When You Hate Your Blog” (I don’t hate my blog but I was certainly drawn to why someone would post about hating their blog), I noticed there was a link included with her statement, “And then there was that thing.” 
You can bet those words drew my curiosity, as I’m sure they were meant to do.  I clicked on the link, only to be taken to another website,, and a post on their blog titled, “Why James Chartrand Wears Women’s Underpants.”

All right, so now we’re talking about a man wearing women’s underwear? 
I read the post only to discover that “James” is a woman who, after going through some hard times and finding it difficult to find an adequate amount of work with good pay, decided to use a male pseudonym and…voila!  She began getting more work and earning more pay.

Some might argue the matter of men vs. women and how much validity there is to whether either may earn more or less for the same job but it would appear “James” discovered her own truth to that argument.  Although it’s a matter up for debate, it’s not one I wish to make here. 
The point is it worked for “James” who, according to her posts, still uses the pseudonym and does not wish to divulge her true name so as to keep her life private.  I have to admit that’s a bit surprising to me, only because I have to agree with the concept that many writers have a bit of an ego and if they become published, they would most certainly want everyone to know about it.  That’s hard to do if you don’t want to use your real name. 

To each their own, what works for some might not work for others, live and let live.  I don’t care that a female author wishes to write under a male name and now that I’ve read her blog, I will return to it because I do find what she has to say interesting and useful. 
Lesson learned for the day, at least for me, is that it’s never too late to give a first impression a second chance.

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